Napoleon's Legacy

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Napoleon's Tomb

Though the French Revolution was a failure in France, thanks to Napoleon its ideals spread throughout Europe. As his soldiers marched they carried with them ideas of equality. Later monarchs found the seeds of liberalism planted by the French were impossible to eradicate. 

The French also awakened nationalism in 19th century Europe. They were a vivid example of what nationalism meant and they inspired nationalism in defeated nations as the hated conquerors and oppressors. Europe would never be the same.

He brought an end to the violence of the French Revolution while preserving many of its core ideals.  He was extraordinarily popular with the French people, a figure larger than life who made the common man proud to be French. However, during his reign as Emperor, individual rights were suspended. There was little freedom in France.

He became the model of the autocratic, popular leader who takes absolute power with the will of the people. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet and others consciously followed his path. 

Tyrant or Hero? Perhaps a bit of both.

Part of Napoleon: Hero or Tyrant? a HistoryWiz Exhibit

The French Revolution

The French Revolution and Napoleon Primary Sources

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